Memorable Manitobans: James Lightfoot (1879-1930)
Born at Cheshire, England on 12 August 1879, son of Samuel Lightfoot and Elizabeth Ross, he was educated at the Cheshire Public School. At the age of 20, he joined the South African forces and fought in the Boer War, from January 1900 to May 1902, receiving the King’s and Queen’s Medals (five clasps). In 1902 he returned briefly to England before immigrating to Winnipeg where he established the Lightfoot Transfer Company at 341 Bannatyne Avenue with his brother George Lightfoot. In 1910 he also created the Winnipeg Taxicab Company at 158 Fort Street.
In peacetime, he served as a Sergeant-Major with the Winnipeg Field Battery. When the First World War broke out, he took a commission in the 106th Light Infantry and became the commander of D Company of its 10th battalion. He was severely injured at the second battle of Ypres in April 1914 and returned to Canada to recover. The following year he returned to the war as a Lieutenant-Colonel with the 54th Battalion and was involved in the battle of Vimy Ridge. In September 1917 he was again injured and returned to Canada to recover. In March 1918 he was appointed Inspector of the Dominion Police for the Province of Manitoba. One of his main duties was to track down draft dodgers. The following year he returned to work with the family moving company.
On 3 August 1911, he married Margaret Adams Langmuir (1887-1964) at Winnipeg. They had three children: Margaret Adams Lightfoot (1912-2010, wife of Lloyd Rankin), James Dingwall Lightfoot (1914-1981), and Donalda Elizabeth “Doni” Lightfoot (1921-1978). The family lived at 120 Lipton Street, Winnipeg. He was a member of the Army and Navy Veteran’s Association, Masons, and Conservative Association. He was a Conservative candidate for Winnipeg in the 1920 provincial general election but was defeated.
In the summer of 1930, he underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour. Three months later, on 6 October 1930, he died while recovering at the Winnipeg General Hospital. He was buried with military honours in the Brookside Cemetery.
Marriage registration [James Lightfoot, Margaret Adams Longmuir], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Birth registrations [Margaret Adams Lightfoot, James Dingwall Lightfoot, Donalda Elizabeth Lightfoot], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Death registration [James Lightfoot], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Lt-Col. J Lightfoot dies, aged 51 years,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 October 1930.
Obituary [Margaret Adams Langmuire], Winnipeg Tribune, 9 March 1964, page 17.
Obituary [James Lightfoot], The Province, 17 September 1981, page 31.
“Oregon Death Index, 1971-2008,” FamilySearch, 3 December 2021), Donalda Eli Finch, 1978.
Obituary [Margaret Adams Rankin], Sobering Funeral Chapel & Crematorium.
We thank Darryl Toews for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 21 May 2023